They are arriving en mass to partake in the annual ritual known as camping. I call them turtle people because they tow their houses, children, pets, cars, boats, and various other things, to places far and wide to commune with nature.
I often find myself trapped behind caravans of them as they travel the highways at a pace that can only be described as a meander. Good for them that they have nothing but time to cruise at the speed of a glacier ice melt. Not so good for me when I am stuck in a parade devoid of marching bands, clowns or balloons.
The thing that I don't understand is the need or desire to live outdoors. I've camped before and, quite frankly, I can see why mankind chose to climb up the evolutionary ladder. I would also hazard a guess, and say, if Neanderthals could see us trying to devolve and be one with nature again they would probably be very confused. After all their hard work and sacrifice to better themselves! I’m pretty certain chasing the wooly mammoth and discovering fire was no day at the beach for them. Yet here we are thumbing our noses at convection ovens and flushing toilets and blatantly turning our backs on progress to embrace the same archaic behavior that made their entire species extinct. It’s a bit of puzzler.
The last time I went camping was the last time I'll ever go camping. With only two weeks off a year, the very idea of spending it in the woods, devoid of any convenience is tantamount to torture.
How do I hate camping? Let me count the ways...
1. Waking up in the middle of the night and playing deal or no deal with your bladder because the very idea of using an outhouse that has been host to more asses than Parliament Hill is too horrifying to comprehend. This, of course, does not even begin to describe the odour that emanates from within and I’m pretty convinced it’s what Hell itself must smell like.
2. The bugs ... do I really need to elaborate? Okay, I will. I generally look like I have small pox after one or two very passionate and committed mosquitoes have dined on my life's blood all night long. The good news is that I now reek of sticky bug repellent, and the lineup for the community showers is longer than my last cue for a ride on Space Mountain.
3. Dirt. It's everywhere in nature. Which is why I live indoors. I really have nothing more to say about that.
4. Cooking on a campfire is ridiculous. People have died for less. Nothing about camping is food safe. The whole idea should be prohibited by law. Roasting wieners on sticks until they are charred and caked with embers is carcinogenic ... there is actual scientific research to back this up, and yet the turtle people dine on them with reckless abandon. If you take nothing else from this, please make a mental note that 1.6 people in North America die from choking on hot dogs every year. I'm not sure how the .6 person made the statistic or what .6 of a person would look like, but it's obvious to me that wieners are not the fun food that Oscar Meyer makes them out to be.
4. The weather. I could be camping in a desert that has been devoid of moisture for the better part of forever, but if I pitch a tent it's pretty well guaranteed that six inches of rain will fall overnight. The second to last time I was one with Mother Nature, she decided a simple rainstorm was a little generic ... so she brought forth an actual tornado. Gotta love camping in central Alberta! Not.
So to all you turtle people I say this: go forth and convene with the vast uncharted wilderness, channel your inner caveperson and throw caution and convenience to the wind. I may not understand your customs nor wish to partake in them, but I applaud your spirit. If you ever want to find me on my vacation, however, I'll be relaxing poolside at an all-inclusive resort sipping margaritas and basking in the afterglow of my morning at the spa. I like to believe it’s how the Neanderthals would have vacationed had they survived the climate change. So I guess in a way I do it for them.